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New space launch center to be built in Hainan
Updated: 2009-03-02 21:57

BEIJING -- China will start the construction of a new space launch center in the southernmost Hainan Province in the near future, according to military sources.

The State Council and the Central Military Commission approved the new space launch center at the end of 2008. It features high carriage efficiency, high launch capacity, and low launch costs, said the sources.

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The new space launch center will be in Wenchang City, and it will be divided into three parts, with functions to transfer, test, and launch rocket-carriers, and provide logistic, meteorological, telecommunications and technological services.

The Wenchang Space Launch Center is designed for launching new-generation rocket-carriers and space vehicles like geo-synchronous (GEO) satellites, polar-orbiting satellites, space stations and deep-space exploration satellites.

The government has taken the issues of ecological protection and tourism into consideration, according to the sources, who declined to give details on the date of the start of building the new project and its budget.

China's space industry began in 1956, when the government published its first plan to develop jet and rocket technology. Four year later, the country launched its first rocket.

On April 24, 1970, China launched its first satellite into orbit.

On October 15, 2003, China carried out its first manned space flight and Yang Liwei became the first Chinese astronaut in space.